Steven van der Meulen ?–1563 or 4
Steven van Herwijck c.1530–1567
- Oil on canvas, transferred from panel
- Support: 1960 x 1400 mm
- Private collection c/o Philip Mould Ltd
On short term loan
This portrait of Elizabeth I (1533–1603) is the earliest known full-length portrait of the queen. It is unique in alluding to her status as a prospective bride, painted at a time when she was forced to address the question of marriage. She holds a carnation flower in her right hand, representing the love of God, but also love and marriage. In the background is a tapestry elaborately decorated with fruit and flowers, unusual in portraits of this period. The entwined honeysuckle flowers suggest a union, while the ripe fruit symbolise the queen’s fertility.
Gallery label, February 2016
Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.